Johnny Saylor went outside on Christmas Eve to check on his wife, Lorraine Saylor. She had gone to feed their cats and had not returned in some time. Saylor came outside to see that two pit bulls attacked his wife. Saylor rushed to help her but the pit bulls attacked him as well.
Saylor managed to fight the dogs off with the help of his brother, who lived nearby. Once he was free, Johnny Saylor ran inside and grabbed a .22 caliber pistol. When he came back outside, the pit bulls attacked once more. Saylor shot one of the dogs and it ran away. He then hurried to his wife, who was lying motionless on the ground.
It was too late. Lorraine Saylor was killed when the pit bulls attacked her. The second dog was still standing nearby as Johnny Saylor checked on his wife. Saylor feared for his own life, so he shot the dog and killed it. Saylor also sustained injuries to his arm, hand, and head.
The pit bulls belonged to one of Saylor’s neighbors, Johnny Dale Lankford. Lankford was being held in a local detention center when the pit bulls attacked. He was already being charged with second-degree assault, domestic violence, and unlawful imprisonment. After the attack, he now faces another charge of harboring a dangerous animal.
Saylor recounted the morning the pit bulls attacked to reporters. “She was weak and about 105 pounds,” Saylor said of his wife, Lorraine Saylor, “I said, ‘Oh God! Oh no! Please no!’ I checked her pulse just in case.” Lorraine had sustained over 20 bite wounds, some to her neck. The coroner determined that she had died on the scene.
The pit bull that ran away after Johnny Saylor shot it and returned to the area later. It was promptly taken by Animal Control and put down. Authorities are unsure of whether the dogs were left alone at Lankford’s home or if someone had been watching them. What prompted the attacks also remains unknown.
Johnny Saylor told reporters that he holds Lankford entirely responsible. “I’m sure he will see this. I hope he does,” Saylor said, “He’s responsible for my wife’s death.” Saylor continued by describing Lorraine Saylor as a “kindhearted woman.” He said, “I remember the last time I kissed her on the forehead, not knowing that would be my last kiss.”